Sunday, 15 May 2016

St Paul's Church, Oatlands

Virtually, every settlement in Australian had a church, the overwhelming majority of which were in the Gothic style. This neo-Gothic style church was commissioned by the first Roman Catholic Bishop of Hobart, Robert William Willson.

This church is one of only two of Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin's buildings constructed from highly detailed accurate scale models made in London by George Myers, his favoured builder. The design dates from 1843 and the models were brought to Tasmania in 1844 by Pugin's very close friend Robert William Willson.

These church designs are only to be found in England, Ireland and Australia. In Tasmania the group of his churches, St Patrick's, Colebrook, St Paul's Oatlands, and additions to St John's, Richmond formed a close unspoiled group of Pugin small village churches that can be found nowhere else, including England and Ireland.

Construction was started on a crown land grant in the village of Oatlands in 1850 with the laying of the foundation stone on 9th April 1850. The construction of St Paul’s church was supervised by Hobart architect Frederick Thomas and it was opened on 26 February 1851 just prior to Pugin’s death. St Paul's Church is a two-compartment church with nave and is constructed from coursed sandstone and has corrugated iron roofs and a scraped interior, originally plastered.

Essentially, the building is intact and presents as when it was first completed. St Paul’s is a perfect example of Pugin’s ideal for the revival of a small medieval village church.

Main Text & Information Sources –
Interpretive Sign at the Site
Australian Heritage Database
“Oatlands…A Colonial Treasure” – Walter.B.Pridmore

Historic Photos –